Officers of the Royal Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) at Kia Village in the Isabel Province have confirmed that the boat missing while travelling between Gizo and South Choiseul on 15 January has been found but without the nine people that were travelling on board the boat.

The nine people included five male, two female and two children.

Provincial Police Commander (PPC) Choiseul Province, Superintendent Vincent Eria says, “We received a call from Kia in Isabel Province at about 5pm yesterday (20 January 2020) confirming the missing boat was located in the Ritamala area at Kia but there were no people onboard.”

“The boat was found floating upside down with the 40 horsepower (HP) Out board Motor (OBM). Another boat from Posarae in South Choiseul which was searching for the missing boat arrived at Kia and confirmed that the boat discovered is the one used by the group of nine people as it had the name ‘Posarae Clinic’ written on it. There were no other things found with the boat besides the engine.”

PPC Eria says, “The group must have capsized on their way as they encountered strong wind, rough seas and heavy rain on their way from Gizo to Posarae. This is a very sad incident.”

RSIPF would like to once again strongly remind boat owners, skippers and the general public of the importance of sea safety. Before you travel, please plan your trip properly. Here are some safety points to remember before travelling:

- Plan your trip and let at least a member of your family know where you are going and what time you expect to arrive;

- Check the weather on SIBC or call the Met Service on 23658 or toll free 933;
- If you start your trip and the weather becomes bad, seek shelter until the sea is calm;

- Make sure your boat is seaworthy and your OBM is serviced and maintained;

- Know your skipper. Make sure they are experienced in driving boats;

- Do not overload your boat

- Wear life jackets. Take food and water, paddles, first aid kit, anchor and rope, mirror to signal others, tools, bucket, torch, phone, flares and EPIRB;

- Take extra fuel;

- If your skipper is drunk, do not go with them or let them control the boat; and

- If you require help, at sea call the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) on phone 21609 or 27685 or the toll free phone 977; or call the RSIPF National Communication Centre on phone 23666 or the toll free phone 999.

Source: RSIPF Media